University of Georgia students and faculty came together to kick off the inaugural FABricate competition, a food and agribusiness entrepreneurial initiative at UGA, on Sept. 8.
FABricate is a team-based competition that enables UGA students to expand their leadership and business skills through the development of a new food product, new agricultural technology or a new food or agriculture-related business. The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences provides participants with access to funding, coaching and guidance from faculty mentors as well as monthly seminars from successful entrepreneurs.
"The kickoff event is a chance for students to meet potential team members to help bring their ideas to life,” said Gabrielle Buono, an agribusiness graduate student who publicized FABricate on campus and helped to organize the kickoff event. “For students who might not have an idea yet, it’s a chance to learn more about the competition.”
A globally representative group of undergraduate and graduate students came to the event with different ideas, but all had similar goals and ambitions.
“I came up with an idea in high school that hasn’t become a reality yet. I’m looking for some coaching, team members and funding to try to get it off the ground,” said Matthew Detweiler, a freshman intending to major in economics.
After enjoying a taco dinner and a chance to network, students heard from several guest speakers who gave insight into successful entrepreneurship and product development opportunities in agricultural technology and the food industries. Speakers included UGA Entrepreneurship Program Director Bob Pinckney, UGA Innovation Gateway Senior Associate Director for Startups Ian Biggs and food science faculty members Jose Reyes De Corcuera and George Cavender.
Reyes De Corcuera is interested in students’ ideas for new food products, and wanted to offer some encouragement.
“I came to talk about food science to get these students going, and to direct them on the right path to find teams and faculty mentors,” said Reyes De Corcuera.
Alex Maxwell and Catherine Smith were two of the students attracted to the new food product category.
“A lot of food science students study product development and how to bring new products to market. I’m hoping to recruit more to our team of two,” said Maxwell.
While the FABricate kickoff was a great time for everyone to learn more about the competition, get advice and network, students unable to attend still have the opportunity to compete. Preproposals are due on Monday, Oct. 24. To learn more, visit students.caes.uga.edu/current/fabricate.html or contact Buono at email@example.com.